Today is Mama’s 80th Birthday(!!!) How appropriate it’s also Laetare Sunday when we take the opportunity to “rejoice” amidst the somberness of Lent.
We have kicked rejoicing up a notch to full celebratory happiness as we thank God for the gift of Mama’s life. 80 years! This is getting serious, seriously serious. (For those Yes Minister fans out there : )
Seriously, life is a gift. We treasure each day with Mama. Missing Papa, sometimes we get kinda clingy to Mama (she doesn’t mind when we love on her – hugs are always welcome.)
Papa always said Mama is a saint (but he added that the jury was still out on his status.) Mama’s faithfulness to God, to us, and to her husband, especially through 30+ years of his physical challenges as a quadriplegic: what a testimony of God’s grace and love! Mama’s steadfast spirit manifested beautiful melodies of God’s kingdom in her tender care of Papa. Nurses were always amazed at the condition of Papa’s skin – usually quads have a tough time of it, but Papa was very well looked after! extremely well! all over!!
… but everyone was also amazed at the condition of Papa’s joy-filled spirits amidst his 24/7 pain. He always said his blessings outweighed his challenges, so each day he started by thanking God for his blessings, the first (after faith) was MAMA. The two of them were like glue – stuck together, but oh what fun they had together!
Last year on March 15th we held Papa’s Memorial Celebration. It was also Mama’s birthday but she didn’t want anyone to make any fuss. We were touched that a Sunday School class from the Va. Beach Community Chapel remembered and sent a huge stack of uplifting birthday cards.
… it’s also Mama & Papa’s anniversary on March 17th. Last year when Papa died they had been married 58 years. Notice there’s only two days between Mama’s birthday & their anniversary? The story goes like this… When Mama turned 21 Papa married her 2 days later so her father could not object. Mama’s father didn’t like preachers or folks who worked for the city. In 1955 Papa was a preacher AND he drove a city car as a social worker. But the good news, as Papa brought in gifts from a shower the day before the wedding, Mama’s father welcomed him, “come in.. son.” It was a happy wedding when Mama’s father walked her down the aisle…
For some reason while thinking about Mama’s birthday & anniversary this week, a favorite poem emerged from the dusty recesses of one of my mind’s closets.
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints – I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861)
The birthday elf needs to get busy (altho we have been celebrating all week!) For today, just remember, Life is a GIFT. Celebrate with your loved ones — each day is precious. Don’t miss a chance to tell your family, friends & loved ones: I LOVE YOU!
grace, peace & BIRTHDAYS
Virginia : )
p.s. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAMA!!! WE LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE YOU!